Boost Recovery with These 7 Post-Practice Meals

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Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

By Madilyn Sindelar, Swimming World College Intern.

You’re halfway through morning practice and the clock glows 6 a.m. Your stomach begins to grumble as your coach explains the main set. As you try to focus on understanding the practice, your mind slips away to visions of the meal you are going to devour immediately upon arriving home. Once you complete the grueling set, your mind races through the sustenance awaiting in the pantry or the fridge to assemble your recovery meal.

Now stop the “hangry brain” thoughts to truly examine the best recovery foods that will keep you full, replenish lost energy stores and provide necessary nutrients to keep your engine running efficiently. When thinking of breakfast, do you think about pop tarts and juice or an omelet and chocolate milk?

Reasons to properly replenish the body.

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Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr / Swimming Australia Ltd.

To begin, when planning a post-practice meal, it is imperative to eat healthy foods so your body can recover properly. This allows swimmers to be able to perform at a higher level consistently at practices.

According to Sutter Health registered dietician Catherine Nishikawa, “Post workout meals are important for all athletes, especially during periods where one is training every day or even twice a day. In these situations, there is less time for the body to recover, and a solid nutrition plan – including post workout meals – becomes very important.”

Fueling the body with carbohydrates and proteins.

To continue, the main focus should be fueling the body with carbohydrates and protein. A solid diet for recovery should consist of a proper mix of carbohydrates and protein, depending on intensity and length of workout. According to Anne L’Heureux, head of Spartan Nutrition, the ideal carbohydrate to protein ratio depends on the workout and your goals. The more aerobic the workout, the fewer carbs you need in the ratio (2:1). The more anaerobic and higher intensity the workout, the more carbohydrates you need to replenish your energy stores (a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio). Although this isn’t a one-size-fits-all recommendation, it is a helpful place to start.

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Photo Courtesy: JeffreyW via Flickr

Carbohydrates are stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver. They fuel our body throughout the day especially during long workouts and taxing sets. Good carbohydrate sources include pasta, potatoes, rice, lentils and beans. The other half of a swimmers recovery meal should be protein focused. Protein is necessary to repair and rebuild the muscles after a tough workout in or out of the pool. The building blocks of proteins are amino acids, which are the main components of muscular growth and repair.

“The general recommendation is to have a meal or snack within 30 minutes of completing a workout. The focus should be on good sources of carbohydrates and protein. These macronutrients are important for the role they play in replenishing glycogen stores and rebuilding muscle tissue,” Nishikawa explains.

Here are some suggestions for what to eat for breakfast after a morning workout.

Be sure to eat these healthy foods so your body can recover properly.

1. Scrambled eggs and avocado toast

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Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

2. Acai bowl (fruit, peanut butter and granola)

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Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

3. Greek yogurt with fresh fruit

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Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

4. Whole grain cereal, fruit, low-fat milk

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Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

5. Pancakes with nut butter and syrup

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Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

6. Breakfast sandwich (English muffin/bagel, egg and Canadian bacon)

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Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

7. Protein waffles and fresh fruit

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Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

What other healthy breakfast options do you like to eat after swim practice?

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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